Amidst the echoes of their epic 2011 final, India and Sri Lanka return to the Wankhede with their fates reversed. India, undefeated and eyeing a semi-final berth, is just a victory away from clinching it, even as they navigate without Hardik Pandya. Sri Lanka, hanging by a thread after a rough patch, faces a must-win to dodge elimination and keep Champions Trophy 2025 hopes alive. It's a battle where legacy meets urgency on a high-scoring pitch.
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Match Preview: India vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 33rd Match
ICC World Cup • 2 Nov, 2023 • 4,136 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
The Wankhede Stadium, known for its batting-friendly pitch, has witnessed colossal totals this World Cup. With two matches featuring massive scores of 399 and 382 by South Africa, another high-scoring thriller seems inevitable. The pitch favours pacers and spinners at different stages, suggesting a riveting contest between bat and ball. Notably, the ground's shorter boundaries and a quick outfield typically add to the woes of bowlers, while the sea breeze can sometimes aid swing bowlers during the early overs.
Form Guide - India
Dominating the tournament with a flawless victory march, India remains undefeated in the tournament with WWWWWW, in their last six ODIs. Despite the absence of key players like Shubman Gill in the initial stage and Hardik Pandya, the team’s depth and resilience have kept them at the top of their game, eyeing an early semi-final berth with eager anticipation. The Indian squad's adaptability has been on full display, as they've successfully chased down large targets and defended modest ones, showcasing their balanced team composition and strategic gameplay.
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Form Guide - Sri Lanka
Contrastingly, Sri Lanka's journey has been turbulent, reflected in its LWWLL, form. The Sri Lankan team has won only 2 matches in the tournament out of the possible 6. The islanders, having to fight their way through the Qualifiers, are at a critical juncture after a disappointing loss to Afghanistan. With their captain out due to injury, the team desperately needs a turnaround to keep their hopes alive. Sri Lanka's middle order has been a particular concern, failing to capitalize on starts and leaving much of the work to their lower order in recent games.
Players to Watch
Shreyas Iyer: India's choice for the crucial No. 4 slot, Shreyas Iyer, has amassed 134 runs with an average of 33.50 in six innings this World Cup. Although these are respectable figures, the intensity of competition within the Indian squad means that his spot is far from secure. His recent vulnerability to the short ball has resurfaced, leading to dismissals in consecutive matches, and this puts him in a precarious position. With the highly versatile Hardik Pandya poised to return, Iyer is in dire need of a commanding performance to solidify his place in the team.
Angelo Mathews: Initially not part of Sri Lanka's World Cup plans, Angelo Mathews now finds himself with a golden opportunity. Having been historically formidable against India, his average of 53.57 against them is impressive, and it skyrockets to 105.16 in games played on Indian soil, underscoring his potential impact. Despite this, batting him at No. 7 could be seen as a strategic misstep. With three ODI centuries to his credit against India, Sri Lanka may need to leverage his capabilities higher up the order to bolster their chances in the tournament.
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With Hardik Pandya's absence, India might stick to their winning formula and play an unchanged side, relying on five frontline bowlers to compensate for the loss of his all-round capabilities. Their extended batting tail has shown resilience, which could prove vital in a high-pressure game. Sri Lanka, facing a must-win situation, may bring strategic changes; Dinuth Wellalage could come in for Dhananjaya de Silva, aiming to bolster their spin options in response to the Wankhede Stadium's pitch behaviour. The final composition for both teams will likely consider the dual nature of the pitch, which aids pacers early on and spinners as the game progresses.
Pitch and Weather Report
The Wankhede pitch, poised for high totals, promises early aid to swing bowlers and later turn for spinners. Mumbai's weather, sunny with no rain in sight, sees temperatures around 35°C and 46% humidity, with an 18 kmph breeze. These stable conditions suggest uninterrupted play. Dew in the evening might tilt favour towards the team batting second, influencing the toss decision. The blend of weather and pitch conditions sets the stage for a strategic encounter in this World Cup fixture.
India (Probable): KL Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammed Siraj, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav
Sri Lanka (Probable): Kusal Mendis (capt, wk), Angelo Mathews, Maheesh Theekshana, Pathum Nissanka, Kasun Rajitha, Charith Asalanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dushmantha Chameera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Dinuth Wellalage/Dhananjaya de Silva.
The ICC World Cup 2023's 33rd match, featuring the exciting clash between India and Sri Lanka, will be broadcast live on the Star Sports network, available in several regional languages for a diverse Indian audience. Additionally, fans can stream the match live on the Disney+ Hotstar app and website for real-time engagement. This thrilling encounter is set to unfold at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium on Thursday. The game is scheduled to commence at 2 pm(IST) and 8:30 am(GMT).
As the dust settles at the Wankhede, India’s semi-final dreams inch closer to reality, while Sri Lanka’s survival hangs in the balance. It’s more than just a game; it's about securing a future in the Champions Trophy 2025. With India's lineup standing tall despite absentees and Sri Lanka's resolve tested to its limits, this clash transcends the ordinary, embodying the intense rivalry and passion that epitomizes cricket in the subcontinent.
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